Another Introduction

I find it impossible to introduce myself in writing to strangers, telling them a little bit about me in a way that helps them understand who I am. I worry about the  image my self-description creates.

knit

WTF?

I’m certainly not a gray-haired granny knitting booties from a rocker but I do have nine grandchildren. I don’t knit, though. I try it every couple of years. My fingers are too fat. The work is mindless. The instructions are the stuff of metaphysical science and I can’t understand them.

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Can We Be A Teeny Bit Realistic Here?

I wrote this article some time ago in response to the big, big, huuuuge news that a famous rich guy threatened to grab a woman’s vagina.  My shock about the statement was not so much that a famous, rich guy would say such an uncouth thing, but that people all over the world would be so completely immobilized by it. I’m no cream puff when it comes to insults and shock value and I get that the media needs, thrives on, and seeks out the most salacious tidbits of life in order to gain viewers/readers and thereby cash in on advertising dollars, but the intensity of the (faux?) shock set me back a bit. Exactly where do these delicate, tender souls live?  In a convent?

I get it.  Famous rich guys who assume they can have their way with women are insulting, presumptuous, and boring.  Left unchecked, they can be dangerous. My own shock over the whole thing, however,  is that after years and years of changing the landscape for women, teaching empowerment, raising girls to be strong, independent, and basically allowing them to write their own script when it comes to goals and aspirations, there remains such a large contingent of trembling, ready-made victims.

Either way.  I know this article may lose me some readers, offend a handful of my friends, and possibly, outright piss off some people I like a lot. I also assume women my age will nod and think back to some of the horrendous treatment we received because of our vaginas. I’m posting it anyway. Then, I’m off to kickboxing class. I refuse to be afraid


butterflyIf you define sexual assault as a man who says he wants to grab your Pu**y, you’re either stupid or you’ve never survived an actual sexual attack by an actual predator.  It’s way different. Trust me. I go back and forth between feeling offended by your careless disregard for the Real Thing to feeling sorry for you for being so deeply, completely, absolutely, and in several cases, willfully stupid.

Being overpowered by brute force or blind obedience to authority and then violently raped or sexually violated just has a whole different kind of feeling than hearing some asshole talk about grabbing a vagina.  At least in my way of thinking.

Truth be told, and I’m sure I’m not alone here, I’ve had men tell me—up close and personal—that they’d like to grab my various reproductive/potty parts. My reaction to the shocking statement(s) depended on many variables, including but not limited to, my age, my level of intoxication, my mood at that moment, how fat I thought I was at the time, and no less important a consideration, whether the awkward oaf was a viable candidate for later consideration. Rainy day planning and whatnot.

Depending on the circumstance, the grabby comments seemed more-or-less like an unpolished form of flattery.  Sure, butterfly-womanany girl would prefer suggestions that her body parts bring to mind delicate butterflies and soft grassy meadows, but on a typical busy day of hustling up money for rent and utility payments, trying to get to a shitty job interview on time, or scrounging enough cash for a box of Ramen noodles, hearing that my crotch was the object of some guy’s sexual desire certainly wasn’t the worst part of my day.  Again, I know I’m not alone here, unless the guy had his hand wrapped around my throat, I never felt like he was suggesting a rape scene. I accepted that he was a just little clumsy with his prose.

Most women my age have had plenty of unwanted, unsolicited offers to be grabbed and otherwise mauled by shaved apes.  Back in the day, I mean.  Not so much since I’ve grown whiskers on my upper lip and have random hot flashes where my insides are radiated in a hormonal microwave. I do remember the offers though and not all them in an unpleasant way. Some of the snatch grabbing comments were creepier than others but for those of us of a certain age, there was a time when we had a universal understanding that a woman’s delicate butterfly was The Holy Grail to most men.  It was just a given. It may come as a somewhat reluctant surprise that these butterfly chasers weren’t just creepy guys hanging around the phone booth at the local Tastee-Freez. If memory serves, and it does, trust me on this one, English Professors at state colleges and/or high school typing teachers were just as likely to confuse butterflies with pu**ies when push came to shove.

As young women, we all knew the power we had over these feckless nasty talkers.  To be perfectly honest, it was fairlyteacher exhilarating in a narcissistic sort of youthful mentality.  From the comments of balding fat guys with crusty teeth to the innuendo of hunky Social Studies teachers in high-school, all that dirty talk provided me with a few of the finest hours ever of salacious squealing and eye-rolling among my besties (We didn’t call each other besties though.  We called each other girlfriends. That’s a little tricky these days too).

Nevertheless, my girlfriends and I spent plenty of time discussing the various and frequent suggestions and offers tossed our way and usually over frosty mugs of adult beverages where we further discussed the possible tool size and/or level of potency—or lack thereof—these dirty talking as-iffers might offer.  “Oh, the audacity. Ewwwwwww!!“  The feeling was more a kind of girly, giddy horror than a feeling of threatening, screaming horror.  In fact, if we could have infused the situation with even the teensiest bit of perceived threat, it would have been all the more delicious.  And would definitely have required more frosty mugs of adult beverages.

We knew, even then, the difference between a dangerous sexual assault and some guy hoping to get lucky. And there is a difference. Whether these new-aged-bed-wetting-hand-wringers who call themselves feminists will admit it or not, most women, even young ones, know the difference between receiving a crudely offered solution to an otherwise humdrum day and a rapist looking for a conquest.

Not to downplay date-rape or pedophilia or any number of real assault scenarios.  The rapists I’ve studied (and known) don’t normally make themselves quite as obvious or announce ahead of time that they’re going to get a handful of delicate butterflies or soft meadow grass. I mean it’d be nice if they could tip a girl off before the whole horror show unfolds but I don’t think that’s how it works with these guys.  Otherwise they’d save a ton of money on alcohol and roofies and just start grabbing pu**ies.

Before all the angry new-age, Millennial feminist hacks start choking on their own righteousness and spewing hysterical bumper-sticker platitudes about their right to never ever be offended or scared or upset in the least little bit, remember, I’ve been your age already.  I lived through it.  I’ve been assaulted. Physically.  In the literal sense.  Sure, it changed my life.  I have anger and trust issues. Who doesn’t?   Ultimately, these predators didn’t rob me of my ability to reason.  I still understand the difference between a guy saying he’s hungry enough to eat a frozen dog and a guy who hacks up neighborhood pets for fun. I get that saying you’ve been stabbed in the back doesn’t necessarily mean you need a ride to the ER.  I get it because I think with my brain instead of my silly parts.

I was an angry young feminist back in the 70s when feminism meant equal rights in the workplace, fair pay, and opening an entire realm of possibilities never before available to women.  The movement was ground-breaking.  It meant something. We raised the consciousness of an entire generation and eventually the entire world.

Feminists these days have lost their way. They’ve forgotten what it means to think beyond the sensational, the giddy, the self-righteous. The early movement was about women everywhere: All women.  It is now hyper-focused on individual feelings.  Instead of developing into strong, decisive, able-bodied, self-sufficient power-houses, feminists are sniveling school-girls stamping their precious feet every time they drop their fork. It’s the Me Generation on Steroids.

Make no mistake.  I understand the very real threat to women, young women in particular.  I have daughters and granddaughters. And a son and grandsons. Sexual predators come in all shapes and colors and sizes.  I get it. I preach it. Studies of sexual predator profiles do not include Neanderthals hollering about grabbing female body parts.  If only it were that easy to spot a threat.

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Middle Fingers and Corn Dogs

sillylily

Happy Birthday Lily Belle

Today is Lily Belle’s 6th birthday so I joined her at Kindergarten to eat lunch.  The “special” table was full so we sat with the regular people.  It’s also Frozen Friday so we chose ice cream sandwiches for our treat.

Once we sat down I noticed Ms. Ratched, the lunchroom and #walkdontrun monitor was walking  towards us so I said, pretty loud, “Lily, since it’s your birthday you get to eat your ice cream first!”  Lily replied, “I know! Yay!” Ms. Ratched slowed her giddyup just long enough to shoot me a scalding glance but obviously thought better of correcting me before she sped off to find another rule breaker.

One of my favorite events at school lunches is when Ms. Gable counts down from three to zero, at which point there is either total silence in the room or, and I’ve never actually USA: Demonstrators March In National Day Of Action On Immigrant Rightsseen this play out, some kind of hell to pay.  All of my grand kids enjoy this little activity as much as I do and we sit with our arms raised and follow along, folding down each of three fingers until we are left with a fist in the air.  Silence Power!

Two tiny children sat across from us and seemed to be enjoying the activity as well—maybe even more than us.  When talking was allowed again, the tiny boy leaned towards me and confided, “She (pointing to the tiny, grinning girl beside him) has her middle finger up.  That’s a bad word!”

Lily, ever her father’s child, dabbed her napkin against her chin, shoved another bite of ice cream sandwich in her mouth and asked me why a middle finger is a bad word.  I said I didn’t know.  I shrugged.  “Some people just think that,” I told her.

birdTiny Boy assured me that IT IS A BAD WORD! and said he was going to tell Ms. Gable. Middle Finger Girl grinned as Tiny Boy watched her hands under the table, presumably flipping him off, his eyes wide with a consuming and absolute joy.  Lily peeked under the table and shrugged.  My exact sentiment about the whole middle finger debacle. “I’m Telling!!” Tiny Boy said, over and over again.  He looked at me, likely for advice and backup.  I shook my head.  I advised him not to tell.  “Just eat your lunch,” I told him. He raised his tiny arm and looked around desperately for some other adult.  Ms. Ratched, perhaps.  For sure Ms. Ratched would want to know about Middle Finger Girl.  I leaned towards Tiny Boy.  “Nah…put your arm down.  Don’t be a fink.”  Middle Finger Girl grinned my way.  Apparently now bored with the whole thing, she dunked her burnt corn dog in a glop of ketchup. I told the Tiny people it was Lily’s birthday and they were pretty excited about that.  “I’m six!” Lily told them.

Before I could finish my burnt pizza, Lily interrupted the meal with an unscheduled tour of the condiment table, advising me to hold my tray under the ranch dressing pump whilecatinterest she pushed the silver knob down.  “Watch this!!” she told me. The Condiment Monitor eyed us, blank faced. Unimpressed. I told Lily I loved the ranch thing.  She grinned at me. “Yeah, me too,” she said. The Condiment Monitor coughed/grunted which I took to be an attempt at laughter or feigned interest in our delight. No need.

We realized too late that lunchtime was over and Lily had not eaten any of her crunchy corn dog. The Trashcan Monitor reached for her tray and said, “All finished?”  I advised him that she was not finished and he snapped his hand back, grabbed the trashcan handle and marched off to line it up with the others. He shot me look from the trashcan lineup.

Lily worried about eating in the hallway as we tried to catch up with her classmates who were lined up and wandering towards a classroom.  Ms. Ratched lead the little people in  straight rows, reminding them over and over and over again to keep their hands to themselves and stay in line and “Stop touching people Miranda!”  and, of course, “WALK DON’T RUN!!”

Lily managed to get about half the corn dog bitten off the stick and somewhat chewed by the time we reached the front doors.  She handed me the stick with the remaining chunk of dried up, would-be corn dog and smiled up at me, mashed hot dog and bits of sugary cornbread spilling out of her mouth.  I told her happy birthday and kissed her tiny nose and she skipped down the hall with her tiny friends.  Happy Birthday Lily Belle.

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Lily gazing at Luz’s birthday cake

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Justice: Another Commodity in the Brotherhood of Men

Twenty minutes

Rapist and the Rapist’s father

Rape: the Inconvenient Crime

I am just a tiny bit skeptical about all the brouhaha over the bug-eyed, chinless rapist with his little swimmer’s hair Afro.  The one who got nearly a free pass for raping a 23-year-old unconscious woman. After all, both parents of the rapist have expressed how sad and depressed he is after the raping.  He hardly smiles anymore, they said. He’s too delicate to survive in prison, his mother told the judge.  He’s even taken on the “binge-drinking” cause and plans to let others know what a bad thing it is to consume copious amounts of alcohol. Violent rape is hardly worth mentioning but binge drinking is a really bad idea. His family is really proud of him for taking this on. Bless their hearts.

rapist parents 1(2)Neither the rapist nor his parents have publicly acknowledged the violent rape. It’s just too unseemly for people like the Turners and besides, they’re really, really busy worrying about all that alcohol kids drink these days. Drunkenness is the real crime here, they’ve suggested. I mean come on, the parents of the rapist are professionals.  They have relationships in the community.  The rapist was a Boy Scout and an athlete.  Just on those two merits alone he deserves his 20 minutes of action without the heavy consequence of a proper punishment. Either way, he’ll likely be released early for “good behavior” (translation: choosing masturbation over forced copulation? Only consensual sex from here on out? Keeping the cell bunk neatly tucked in like a good Boy Scout?), but still, this drinking thing has the whole family upset. They surely don’t deserve to be inconvenienced like this.

Folks all over the country are acting like this is some kind of isolated incident.  Like it’s a big deal that this kid isn’t being punished suitably for forcing his venerated man parts into a sleeping woman for twenty minutes. After all, HE WAS A BOY SCOUT! And, his mother is really brokenhearted that her rapist son and his family and friends have been put through all this inconvenience.  It’s really upset them all, she says.

Rapist

The rapist’s family clearly has connections—they certainly connected with Judge Aaron Persky, a Stanford graduate himself and a fine upstanding man with precious male parts of his own. Persky also refused to award punitive damages to another rape victim because he saw photos of her wearing skimpy clothes and acting sexy. Of all the nerve she had, asking for justice. Surely she wanted to be raped, the little vamp.

Asshole

Grand Poobah, Brotherhood of men

Here’s the thing.  This rapist got a stiffer sentence than most white rapists. If only the rapist named Brock Turner were black.  He’d be in jail for 20 years. People simply cannot expect these white, college boy, frat-boy, athletic, well-connected rich kid rapists and their families to be bothered with whiny rape victims.

I mean, just imagine how uncomfortable it would be for the fathers of these rapists on the golf course and country clubs with that tawdry nonsense mucking up their business relationships. And just think of the siblings and friends of the rapist, why, they’d be made to feel uncomfortable for a minute or two.  That’s just too much to ask.

The ugly reality here is that these pasty-faced rapists go unpunished more often than not with the full support of their parents and friends and the criminal justice system.  Rape victims are made out to be partially at fault and, therefore, fully at fault. The message is clearly that these silly rape victims just need to quit bothering the rapists and their families and judges. I mean, it’s just twenty minutes for g*d’s sake, lie still and shut up already.

 


 

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I’m Hangry. Please Don’t Jack Around

WARNING:  I’m a big fan of foul language. The following post includes a pinch of spicy and green leafy cuss words. Please avoid this article if you have delicate sensibilities.recipes1

 

Dear Foodie Blogger,

For the love of God, please choose  – preferably in the advanced planning stages before launching your wonderful new blog, whether you are a storyteller, photographer, or, and this is a big one…a fucking cook.  Because here’s the thing:  YOUR BLOG CAN’T BE ALL THREE.  At least not very well.  And definitely not if you want me to subscribe and tell all my friends about it.

I get it.  I know what you are trying to do.  I’ve seen it done well but not often, and not unless you can legitimately add graphic artist to your resume and know how to skillfully design a page with photos of sumptuous food logically arranged around the ACTUAL RECIPE IN A READABLE FORMAT. That’s a lot of work for the average Foodie blogger.  Try not to get too fancy about it.  If you don’t pay a large staff to do everything except the cooking, just post the recipe with a few photos of the finished product. Really. That’s all you need. If you absolutely must write a 17-paragraph narrative about the recipe, maybe do it after you’ve posted the ingredients and cooking directions.  A couple of people will be interested.  Not me but maybe some others.

I love and enjoy each of these specific blog genres  – storytelling, photography and cooking –  but when combing them, if they each carry equal weight, what you end up with is a blog that is, at first glance, big and beautiful and envy-inducing, “Oh my God I wish my hot dogs looked this pretty!”  On further inspection, however,  when I’m trying to find the actual recipe, if the blog becomes complicated and confusing because I’m spending way too many of my expensive minutes searching and scrolling and clicking and pressing arrows to find the F&(*ing  ingredients or oven temp, you’ve lost me in a mad fury.

 

Yum

Bologna sandwich with huge tomato slice. Easy.

The photos may be stunning, the narrative captivating and the actual recipe may be to die for – but I’ll never know. And just so you know, right before I slam my cursor on the X at the top right side of your page, I’ve uttered several violent missives directly at you. Personally. Likely something uncouth about your waste management apparatus. I’m hateful like that.

If your blog is a slice-of-life narrative about how you’ve gotten healthy and trim following a certain eating plan, I’ll follow along because I love stories of success and personal victory.  I love seeing the before and after photos and I’m inspired to try your plan  with you and encourage you along the way.  But that’s different. I only read those blogs when I’m already too full and disgusted with my piggish self. When I’m hungry I don’t care how fat I am.  That’s the point.

If I’m looking for a recipe, bets are, I’m hungry, I’m in a hurry, I have a slab of thawed meat I don’t know what to do with, and likely several people standing around asking me what we (translate: me) are doing about dinner.  If all of these elements happen to be in place at the same time, which they so often are, I may also be approaching homicidal. Now is not the time for me to read about your personal relationship with lean, non-GMO, organic, grass-fed, free-range pork steak. Your farm-to-table adventures hold no sway with me. I especially don’t give any effs about how you filched the recipe from your husband’s mother after she accidentally ate a magic brownie in the backseat of a yellow Volkswagen in 1973.  I swear I don’t. That story is only interesting to you and your siblings.  And maybe your children if they’re old enough to be told about the ‘70s.

If I have to click more than once to get to the actual directions on how to make the recipe—I’m gone. Tempted to do a slideshow style recipe?  Lose my number. I’ll never be back.

Seriously?

Seriously?

Generally speaking, and I’m guessing I’m in the majority here, when I’m looking for a specific kind of food or recipe, I Google it.  I need directions for an interesting way to make something to eat. Something different for a change.  I’m looking for an easy-to-read list of ingredients and directly below/beside that list- the actual directions to mix it all up and cook it.  I don’t want editorial comments after each ingredient. I know cumin is spicy.  I’ll cut it back if I’m feeding kids or sissies. I know cilantro is pungent. You don’t need to warn me that if I don’t like it I should use less.  Let’s assume here that I have at least an iota of cooking experience.  I know where the kitchen is. I know how to turn on the stove. Trust me.  Also, if you must tell me in the list of supplies needed section that I should use a clean cutting board (as opposed to…. what?  A dirty one?), you’ve misunderestimated me. I can’t like you at all and maybe forever if you say something like that. If I’m smart enough to find your blog, you must trust me as a reader.  I know about Hepatitis.  I was in the army.

I love a good story.  I’m a huge fan of photography blogs.  I’m always searching for good recipes.  I never combine these activities. I don’t have time.  Here’s a news flash: NOBODY HAS TIME.

I block out daily reading times and (too) often, I allow myself some (precious) online minutes to admire the interesting collections of art and photos on various blogs, including food blogs. But not when I’m hungry.  When it’s dinner time, I’m looking for food ideas.   I want the deets, the 411, the goddamned ingredients. I don’t want the history of Turmeric and beet juice in America. I also don’t’ want to do an additional search to find out how many shrimps make up eight ounces or what size package of meat makes up “28 ounces of pork roast” (1.75#s, FYI).  For God’s sake.  That’s just cruel. Please. Be merciful. One more thing here while we’re discussing mercy: any recipe that calls for “X amount of cups plus 1/2 teaspoon” is just showing off. Just trying to make the author look like some kind of fancy chef. I mean really.  That extra 1/2 teaspoon is more or less a few pinches. Everybody knows that. Don’t be fancy. You lose credibility.

 

The big payoff in being a considerate Foodie Blogger is that if I like the recipes I’ll be back for more.  I’ll subscribe.  I’ll re-blog.  I’ll spread the word like a stick of softened butter. I’ll tolerate the annoying ads because I get how that works and I appreciate what you are doing.  I’ll even click the ads if they interest me because again, I get it. I do draw the line though with auto-play video ads.  I’ll only stick around long enough to damn you to hell before I click the X and be gone from your site. Forever. Have some respect. Or, lose me. Either way. Plenty of Sushi in the sea. I don’t need a science lesson or a fun story on how you learned to properly boil water.  I need dinner.

Meh... not bad.

So-so Mexican food from a local place. For when Google is down.

My one and only Foodie Post:

Best Black Bean Soup

I’ve never done a foodie post and I may not do another one. This one, half-assed at best, I only thought of while I was making my favorite black bean soup. So, bear with me while I try something completely new. The post, that is. The soup I make fairly often.  Read Article

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TBT: Swimming With The Fishes

I haven’t written anything I can publish for public consumption lately but I came across a photo I promised to share with Sir Ozzy a long time ago.

It’s a photo of me fishing with my Uncle Joe a thousand years ago in the Florida Keys.  Joe was my dad’s brother, the two of them formidable members of the Fighting Bell Boys and along with the third member of this obscure but infamous trio, is retired to the great beyond. At least two of the Fighting Bell Boys are remembered with some measure of fondness.  My father isn’t one of those.

The boat was rumored to be owned by Jimmy Hoffa (uncle Joe had connections, he told me).  I ate a  raw shrimp on a dare that day.  All sailors eat raw shrimp, the fishermen told me. Looking back I realize it was just another cruel joke I fell for in my youth – never one to pass up a challenge of my grit and determination to fit in… somewhere.

I don’t have bad memories of this particular trip – it’s all part of the strange texture of my life.

fishing1

Be sure to check out Sir Ozzy’s blog for fun stories about his travels.

**I forgot to add that I caught several of those fish on the table there.  My stomach was black and blue the  next day from the fishing pole.**

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Nursing. It’s for Other People

shotI wrote this short piece for my blogroll blog and I don’t have many followers over there so I thought I’d drop a link here to share a quick story.  Also there is a link to one of my favorite bloggers (nutsrok).

 

 

I encouraged and consoled and used my best confidence-building pep talks during these calls but I worried.  I was out of my league. I could no more be a nurse than fly to the moon.  I lack empathy.  Continue…

 

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“Other” Lane Discovered in Leavenworth County

 

screamerLeavenworth County, Kan. –Reports early Saturday afternoon indicate unusual behavior for drivers headed south on Kan. Highway 7, just outside of Lansing, Kansas.  Several witnesses called the station with similar reports of Leavenworth County (LvCo) drivers operating vehicles while in the right-hand lane as they traveled south on the highway.

One witness said she saw several southbound LvCo drivers gripping the steering wheel, “…(they were) white-knuckled, with expressions of abject terror on their faces.  A passenger in one car had her eyes covered with her hands and appeared to be screaming,” the witness said.  “I’ve never in my life seen a driver from Leavenworth County driving in the right-hand lane.  It was terrifying.”

Another witness reported that at least one driver in the left lane was gesturing wildly to the drivers in the right lane to get back over to the “normal” driving lane. The driver was screaming, “What are you doing over there?” the witness said.

The station sent teams of reporters to the surrounding area to investigate the unusual event and eventually revealed that a possible rumor originating at the IHOP in Leavenworth, Kan. may have caused the chaos on K-7 Highway. Diners at the restaurant apparently overheard an out-of-towner describe K-7 as a “four-lane highway,” suggesting an additional lane going in both directions on the south and northbound highway.

Several LvCo residents left their partially eaten lunches behind in the booths as they rushed out to the parking lot to get to their vehicles, according to John Smith, the restaurant manager. “They were all very curious to see if there really is another lane on the right side of K-7. I personally can’t imagine believing in that ‘other’ lane,” Smith said.  “I wonder if they also believe in Santa Claus. They must feel like big stupid fools.”

“Those dummies are in for a shock.  I hope they at least come back later and pay for their damn lunches,” an IHOP waitress remarked.

One diner in the restaurant, a resident of Wyandotte County, expressed disbelief about the event. “It’s like they don’t realize that there is a left lane to be used for passing and turning while the right lane is used for cruising.  I mean, highways are designed like that  all over the country and these people have never noticed that there is another lane on the highway. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

A few of the right-lane drivers returned to the restaurant later in the day to finish lunch and pay for their meals.  By some accounts the drivers appeared to be in something of a daze and at least two drivers were admitted to St. John’s emergency room where they were treated for extreme anxiety.

Reporters asked the LvCo police officer stationed at the entrance to the Wildwoods Mobile Home Park in Lansing, Kan., to shed some light on the brief and apparently horrifying phenomenon.  “I’m not sure what just happened,” officer Speedick said.  “I had almost met my afternoon quota of 49 speeding tickets when all of a sudden I noticed several drivers in another lane–over to the right of the left lane. Like, I mean, they were just driving along in that ‘other’ lane. I haven’t had any training on LvCo drivers who don’t use the left lane for regular driving. My mind is kind of blown here.  I’ll be glad when my shift is over.”

Two reporters remained on the scene for several hours to see if any other Leavenworth County drivers had heard the rumor about the “other” lane but there is no evidence that the rumor spread any further.  All indications are that highway traffic is back to normal on K-7 southbound. The “other” lane is being investigated by local FBI agents.  Check back here for updates to the story.

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An Actual Story of Tears and Exclamations!

cry-baby

Crying has become a bit of a social meme if you ask me—a verbal emoticon :'(. It all started with the World Wide Web, and let’s be honest, the sum total of all that amazing technology: Facebook (okay and Google). The natural evolution of all this immediate and 24/7 connectedness is the “News Feed,” which may include actual news from actual news organizations; local and international if you click on things just right.

More and more often, news actors post “news stories” on social media sites and there’s one in particular in my local area which I won’t name, that routinely includes headlines with editorial directives such as, “Grab a Tissue This Story is a Real Heart Wrencher!!!” And, “See if you Can Keep from Crying Over This Sad Story!!” And, perhaps the quintessential example of the degradation of journalism in America: “This Story Is So Sad!!” Crying is the foregone conclusion here. Reading the story is optional and I’m guessing most people don’t. Comment after comment on these stories reveals a veritable flood of emotion by way of sobbing and crying, “OMG! I’m so sad!!”

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                               Meme: White cop shot her puppy                                                                     Actual truth: found out the ice cream carton is empty.

 

In addition to verbal emoticons and thanks again to the constantly evolving language of internet-speak, social media chatterers also have millions of memes available to share feelings of inspiration, political disdain, and yes, everybody’s favorite: sadness :(.  My personal favorite, which invariably produces a crescendo of tears and heartbreak, are actual photos of sad images which are conveniently taken out of context to…you guessed it, make people cry. If I’ve read it once, I’ve read it a million times, “OMG I’m crying!!” posted after an obviously Photoshopped picture of a baby with feet growing out of its ear, or a dog with no head or torso, but thanks to the generous work of an unsung hero who built a robotic head and other essential organs for the pup it continues to survive, and just look at that neato remote-controlled dolly where the front half of the animal remains cutely stationary while the back legs run and frolic in delight, “That’s so precious!! I cried the whole time I was reading it!!” Continue reading

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Marriage and old Appliances

429-030Marriage. It’s a funny thing. I swore it off after the first time around but I eventually found another guy I figured I could tolerate. He liked me too, back then. Over the past 22 or so years our union has grown into a kind of mutual appreciation of the convenience and efficiency of coupling. That sounds a bit like a PVC elbow connection and I visualize the maze of grey and white pipes hanging under the ceiling joists in my basement. Not a very attractive image but fairly efficient. That’s our marriage. Functional. Efficient.

It’s not that we don’t love each other because I’m sure we do but I have news for the young bride and groom skipping down the aisle: love is a verb. I mean yeah, the early years are all raunchy sex and loud music but eventually the sidewalk needs shoveled, the shitter needs replaced and the chicken needs fried. Somebody invariably has to clean up somebody else’s vomit. That’s where love comes in because nobody does that stuff for fun.

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We’re certainly not romantic in any way, although, in spite of my insistence that he not go to any effort or spend any money I get the obligatory (six?) roses every February 14th.  He’s a good guy really and all told, I’m a not a great wife. Still, the relationship works out okay. We have a pretty decent marriage.

Today, however, was one of those times where the old buyer’s remorse (re)surfaces and makes me wonder what the hell I was thinking 22 years ago.

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Dinner Time: Circa 1968

Nothing’s gonna change my world
Jai Guru Deva OM

Eating dinner at my house was pretty much a thirty minute game of survival-of-the-2016-01-19-1453218206-9341429-martin_luther_king_jr__montgomery_arrest_1958most-invisible for the three of us kids. The cleverest of the bunch was able to duck under dad’s radar and avoid pressing whatever hot-button issue was brewing just below the surface for him. Often it was a racism issue or a sex or religion issue or something to do with a current popular song on the radio which fueled–in his mind– an increasing cultural depravity of the generation of anti-establishment teenagers who occupied his classrooms.

Dad hated religion but he hated what society became in its absence even more. I don’t know that he recognized the dichotomy there but it kept him embroiled in an emotional battle that he foisted on his owns kids as he constantly prodded and poked us about concepts he’d caught wind of from his students and from which he was determined to save us.

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